What developer should you use to darken hair from blonde? Use 20-volume developer

blonde haired woman looks up thinking

  • If you want to darken your blonde hair you should use 20-volume developer. This will be enough to fix the new color in your hair without causing much damage.
  • In addition to using 20-volume developer, you should think carefully about the hair color you want to apply.
  • Because if you’ve dyed your hair blonde and want to darken it, you will have to go down two or three numbers in each application. I’ll tell you in detail how to do this later on.


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Don’t do crazy things or think of much higher numbers.  If you want to darken your blonde hair you should use 20-volume developer. 


Forget about the 10-volume developer, 30-volume developer, and 40-volume developer to darken hair from blonde.

Why defy fate when life hands you the solution on a plate without any unpleasant complications?

If you want to darken blonde hair using a box dye, you will find the right developer to use in the coloring kit. Which of course is 20-volume.

20 volume developer to darken blonde hair

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And if you buy the dye and developer separately, all you have to do is approach the saleswoman in the store and ask, in a loud and steady voice, for a 20-volume developer.

Then, the first hurdle on the road to darkening your blonde hair is solved. But don’t jump for joy just yet. Because we still have to jump over the second hurdle.

Can you imagine what it is?


 The second stumbling block to darkening your blonde hair is choosing the right hair color.  Because going from blonde to black hair in one day without turning it green is like trying to lift 100 kgs of weights in the gym without training.

This second pitfall we’ll deal with later because I’m sure I’ve got your attention. Or at least I hope so.

Let’s start by talking about the developer.


To darken blonde hair you should use 20-volume developer

brown dye and developer in plastic container

There are several volumes of developers, which each have a specific function. You use some for bleaching while you use others to maintain color or change shade.


10-volume developer

It’s the quintessential soft developer, which  you commonly use to renew dye on dark hair to maintain the color and darken it further. 

For example, if your hair was dark brown, and you wanted to apply a black dye to darken it, you could use 10-volume developer. But this is not your case, because your hair is blonde. So let’s move on.


30 and 40-volume developers

If you were thinking of using a 30 or 40-volume developer to darken your blonde hair, all bets are off!

Because  these two developers are “exclusively” for applying both full and partial bleaching of the hair. 

You may also see them in super-lightening permanent dyes. They allow the hair to be lightened up to four or five numbers in one application.

In other words, the opposite of what you’re looking for.

And here we are at last.


20-volume developer

We, colorists, say that  20-volume developer is the universal developer because you use it for darkening blonde hair and color change or root maintenance. 

Why? Because it’s strong enough to open the hair cuticles and change your hair color.

So, if you want to darken your blonde hair, use 20-volume developer. No more, no less.

And now, let’s talk about the color you’re dreaming of to darken your blonde hair.


Which color to choose to darken your blonde hair

blonde woman in salon choosing dye color

You can’t go from platinum blonde to black hair in one application. For one thing, the visual impact would be terrible. I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to get used to your new color.


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Also,  if you bleached your hair to go blonde  and you now apply a very dark dye to darken it, the color will fade after just a few washes. And at the ends, your blonde may even reappear.

Because during bleaching, your hair loses melanin, the protein responsible for giving and retaining color in the hair. What if you then apply a black or dark brown dye? Since your hair doesn’t have much melanin, the color will fade.


Therefore,   I advise not to go down more than 2 or 3 numbers per application. 

For example:

  •  If your hair is extra light blonde 10 , you can apply a light blonde 8 or a blonde 7.
  •  If your hair is a light blonde 8 , you can apply a dark blonde 6 or a light brown 5.

And if you want to go further down the scale, I advise you to do it when you renew your dye the next time.

For example:

  • If your hair is extra light blonde 10, darken it with a light blonde dye 8, and  when you renew the dye, apply a dark blonde dye 6. 
  • If your hair is light blonde 8, darken it with a dark blonde dye 6, and  at the time of renewal, apply a brown 4. 



It’s essential you use a 20-volume developer if you want to darken your blonde hair. You should also choose your new hair color carefully.

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